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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — October 23, 2015 — Issue No. 680

Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,

Welcome back to The Wireless Messaging News.

Facebook says it fixed iPhone battery issues

Brett Molina
10:44 a.m. EDT October 23, 2015

It appears Facebook has found answers to why its app for Apple's iOS platform is causing some iPhone to drain battery life faster than usual. A new version of the Facebook app will arrive on the App Store to address the issues.

It appears Facebook has found answers to why its app for Apple's iOS platform is causing some iPhone to drain battery life faster than usual.

A new version of the Facebook app will arrive on the App Store to address the issues with battery consumption, writes Ari Grant , engineering manager at Facebook.

Grant cites two key issues causing Facebook app's to consume more battery than normal. First is “CPU spin,” where the app would undergo a longer stretch of processing without any results. “This repeated processing causes our app to use more battery than intended,” says Grant.

The other issue was related to audio. After watching a video on Facebook, an audio session would remain open, keeping Facebook's app active. “The app isn't actually doing anything while awake in the background, but it does use more battery simply by being awake,” says Grant.

Concerns over Facebook's battery consumption started last week , following a Medium post claiming Facebook's app was guzzling battery life at a faster rate than usual.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23 .

Thank you to everyone who has renewed their advertising, and/or sent in donations to help support the newsletter. I am still waiting to hear from several who haven't responded. Please, a short e-mail with yea or nay will be fine.

Now on to the news and views.


Wayne County, Illinois

Wireless Messaging News
  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Telemetry
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
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About Us

A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.

There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.

I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.

Editorial Policy

Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association.

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Mac Mini Computer -$494.05 $494.05
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Monitor -$254.99 $591.81
Advantage Communications (Ron Mayes)+100.00$491.81
Reggie White W5SSB+$100.00$391.81
MPW Paging (Tim Jones)+$100.00$291.81
Prism-IPX Systems (Jim Nelson & John Bishop)+$100.00$191.81
Barry Kanne +$25.00 $166.81
Larry Gabriel +$50.000 $116.81
Maybe You?  


November 5 - 6, 2015
Royale Palms Tower at the Hilton
Part of Kingston Plantation
Myrtle Beach, SC

Join CMA and come back to the beach, November 5 & 6, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, SC. This is an exceptional opportunity to meet face-to-face and make quality connections with other carriers. Several members are providing key topics of interest to small business. As promised we have kept costs minimal with registration just $300 and overnight accommodations $89/night.

Click Here to Register!

Conference Topics/Agenda:

  • The conference will begin with a Paging Technical Committee meeting on Thursday, November 5, at 1:00.
  • Immediately following the PTC meeting, educational sessions on Thursday and Friday will include discussions on:
    • Learning how a regional carrier has been growing through diversification
    • Telco’s neglect of network interconnection circuits and the IP Transition: Can it be fixed?
    • Utilizing text messaging and other apps to help augment paging service
    • How to utilize other carriers to expand your footprint without additional operating costs
    • Options when a customer requests encryption
    • Paging Company Valuations — How much is your business potentially worth?
    • Update on key topics and issues from the CMA Summit in Prague
    • Latest Technology — Vendor Showcase Presentations
  • There will be a group networking opportunity on Thursday evening and the conference will conclude by 4:30 pm on Friday, November 6.

Conference Location:

Conference Hotel (Deadline October 13)
Royale Palms Tower at the Hilton
10000 Beach Club Drive
Myrtle Beach, SC 29572

To make reservations, please call 800-876-0010 and reference the Critical Messaging Association (CMA). You may also make reservations online. If you are booking online be sure to select the Royale Palms Hotel and then indicate that you have a special code and put in CMA in the group code.

Our group rate is $89 for a one bedroom ocean-view guestroom with balcony or $149 for a 2 bedroom/2 bath ocean-view room with balcony and a full kitchen. The Royale Palms Tower consists of condo rentals and is located at the north end of Myrtle Beach in Kingston Plantation. Guests have access to all of the amenities offered throughout the Kingston Plantation. You may receive complimentary wireless access if you are (or become) a Hilton Honors member.

NOTE: You are encouraged to make your reservations immediately in order to ensure you receive the group rate as once the room block fills rooms will be sold at the normal hotel rate.

Parking: Parking is at a discounted rate of $5/car/day.

Airport: The Myrtle Beach airport is approximately 12 miles away (30 minute drive). A taxi to the hotel costs approximately $38 one way.

We hope you are able to join us at this incredible and fun learning opportunity in Myrtle Beach.

Advertiser Index

American Messaging
Critical Alert
Easy Solutions
Falcon Wireless Direct
Hark Technologies
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates
Leavitt Communications
Preferred Wireless
Prism Paging
Product Support Services — (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
STI Engineering
UltraTek Security Cameras
WaveWare Technologies

BlackBerry launches US preorders for $699 Priv Android slider phone

By Chris Welch on October 23, 2015 11:12 am

BlackBerry's Priv will start shipping in the United States on November 6th, and you can preorder the Android smartphone with its slide-out keyboard beginning right now for $699. That's a bit less than the $750 figure we saw only a couple days ago , but it's still more expensive than or, at best, at parity with a number of fantastic Android flagships like the Nexus 6P, Galaxy Note 5, Moto X, and others.

For that price, you get a curved 5.4-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 808 processor, 32GB of storage, 3GB of RAM, an 18-megapixel camera, and that physical keyboard. The Priv also contains a pretty massive 3,410 mAh battery that BlackBerry says is good for over 22 hours of mixed use.

The Priv won't work on Verizon, Sprint, or US Cellular, according to BlackBerry, so your options among major US carriers are pretty much just AT&T and T-Mobile. Aside from all the Android apps you'd expect, BlackBerry is also putting big emphasis on its own software (BlackBerry Hub) and security / privacy with the Priv. A built-in tool, DTEK, will constantly monitor your phone's OS and apps for any security risks. The camera also sounds decent , features optical image stabilization, and is “certified by Schneider-Kreuznach,” if that means anything to you whatsoever. We're actually pretty excited to check out the Priv in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more.

Source: The Verge

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Metro gets update on radio systems and cell coverage

By Ari Ashe
October 23, 2015 5:22 am

Tests conducted earlier this year found that only 27 percent of phone calls to 911 from Metro tunnels are received versus more than 95 percent from the platform. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — Local fire and emergency response leaders briefed Metro on the progress made toward upgrading radio systems for first responders in tunnels and enhancing cellular telephone service to allow riders to reach 911 in an emergency.

Metro reached a deal in principle with the wireless carrier networks to upgrade the fiber optic cables in tunnels to enhance coverage. The system currently runs on a legacy Verizon system that falters and does not work for riders with AT&T or other wireless networks.

“All that is left is to cross the T’s and dot the I’s,” says Metro Interim General Manager Jack Requa, who believes the contract will be signed within day or weeks at most.

Tests conducted earlier this year found that only 27 percent of phone calls to 911 from Metro tunnels are received, compared with more than 95 percent from platforms.

“There is a huge amount of the Metrorail system [in which] basically 911 service is very, very, very limited,” says Steve Souder, director of Fairfax County 911 communications.

Work is expected to begin in January to install the new cables to upgrade wireless capabilities in the tunnel, but Metro says the work could take five years to complete.

“What is currently proposed is unacceptable to us. Pressuring them for a more aggressive implementation is going to be at the top of our priority list in meetings coming forward,” says Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.

Metro says the problem has to do with access to the tunnels and how to balance this work with all the other necessary track maintenance.

“We all think that is too long. We’ll do everything we can to move it up, but we have to have the system shut down to allow the work to be done in the tunnels. We’ll do everything we can to speed it up,” says Requa. He later added that single-tracking during the day and weekend station closures could also be an option to install cables.

The Federal Communications Commission wrote a letter on Wednesday asking the Federal Transit Administration to lean on Metro to speed up the timeline.

“The troubling timeline for the entire project — reportedly scheduled to take until 2020 — should inspire FTA to examine ways to expedite the work,” wrote FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly.

Metro’s previous attempt to upgrade cellular service in the system failed when the company behind the project went bankrupt.

Metro workers will likely install the fiber optic cables while they’re already in the tunnels also installing coaxial cables to improve the radio coverage. First responders during the L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident on Jan. 12 had trouble communicating over radio and had to use line-of-sight communication.

Still, interim work has been done to improve radio coverage until more permanent upgrades are made. Bashoor says they will not rest until 99.9 percent of the Metro system passes tests for radio reliability.

“When it was measured in the March time frame, it was around 90 percent,” says Stuart Freudberg, deputy executive director at the Council of Governments. “It’s probably in the low 90s now, based on all the testing and corrective actions. It has been improved, but it’s not 99.9 percent,” .

However, the timeline to get the radio coverage up to the goal will also take several years to complete.

“Getting WMATA’s emergency radio system in place is also critical. They have that budgeted and they’re in the process. But again, it’s a multi-year project and it won’t be fixed right away,” says Bashoor.

He adds that many steps have been taken since the L’Enfant Plaza incident to improve communications. Bashoor says tactical bidirectional amplifiers are now being used to boost the signal to assist during rescues, in addition to formalizing the line-of-sight communication as a backup. These amplifiers are portable units that can be brought to the scene of an incident and deployed if necessary.

Source: WTOP

Prism Paging

white stripe


white stripe


  • VoIP telephone access — eliminate interconnect expense
  • Call from anywhere — Prism SIP Gateway allows calls from PSTN and PBX
  • All the Features for Paging, Voice-mail, Text-to-Pager, Wireless and DECT phones
  • Prism Inet, the new IP interface for TAP, TNPP, SNPP, SMTP — Industry standard message input
  • Direct Connect to NurseCall, Assisted Living, Aged Care, Remote Monitoring, Access Control Systems

Product Support Services, Inc.

Repair and Refurbishment Services

pssi logo


Product Support Services, Inc.

511 South Royal Lane
Coppell, Texas 75019
(972) 462-3970 Ext. 261 left arrow left arrow

PSSI is the industry leader in reverse logistics, our services include depot repair, product returns management, RMA and RTV management, product audit, test, refurbishment, re-kitting and value recovery.

American Messaging


American Messaging


WaveWare Technologies

2630 National Dr., Garland, TX 75041

Now stocking the full line of Daviscomms paging products

New Products

SPS-5v9E Paging System

  • 1 Serial Port Connection
  • 2 Ethernet Connections
  • Browser and Serial Port Configuration
  • TAP, COMP2, Scope, WaveWare SNPP, COMP2, & PET Protocols
  • 2W, 5W Option

DMG Protocol Converter

  • Linux Based Embedded System
  • Up to 4 Serial Port Connections
  • Ethernet Connections
  • Browser Configuration
  • Protocol Conversion
  • Additional Protocols Available Soon

WaveWare Technologies

Easy Solutions

easy solutions

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Contracts for Glenayre and other Systems starting at $100
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or e-mail us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119

Easy Solutions

Leavitt Communications


Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

UNICATIONbendix king

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

COMmotorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
Philip C. Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Web Site:
Mobile phone:847-494-0000
Skype ID:pcleavitt

$13.9M project to improve emergency communications to go live in 2016

This tower in Monroe Township is part of a simulcast station for Gloucester County's new public safety communications system. (Matt Gray | For

By Matt Gray | For
on October 23, 2015 at 10:30 AM, updated October 23, 2015 at 12:47 PM

Gloucester County plans to have its new 700 MHz public safety communications system up and running in early 2016, officials confirmed this week.

In 2014, the county announced plans to pursue the $13.92 million project to improve radio communications for emergency responders, contracting with Motorola Solutions, Inc. to construct the radio network.

This is one of nine simulcast stations that are part of Gloucester County's new public safety communications system. This station in Monroe Township was built from the ground up for this project.
(Matt Gray | For

With the advent of digital TV broadcasts in the early 2000s, public safety entities around South Jersey began experiencing interference on the 500 MHz band. In some cases, police officers working in the field were not able to communicate with dispatchers.

The Federal Communications Commission set aside a portion of the 700 MHz band for public safety communications, leaving agencies scrambling to fund the switch. That meant millions of dollars in new equipment.

Radios are being programed, work is wrapping up on infrastructure upgrades and system testing and training will soon begin, reported Freeholder Joe Chila, liaison to the county public safety department.

"It's progressing well," Chila said. "A lot of the system hardware is installed. We've had a lot of cooperation from fire chiefs and police chiefs associations with their input."

More than 3,000 radios, including mobile units for vehicles and handheld units, will be distributed to emergency responders around the county, including police, fire and EMS.

"We had our fire chiefs meeting last week and we are working on training sessions for end users," Chila said.

The project was funded in the county's 2013 capital budget.

Gloucester County officials are working with their counterparts in Camden County, which already has a 700MHz system, to ensure a "seamless interface" once Gloucester's system comes online.

The system consists of nine simulcast sites around the county that include microwave dishes, antennas, shelters for equipment and backup generators. These sites will receive and transmit radio signals across the county's 329 square miles.

"We had to build nine sites, including one from the ground up in Monroe," Butts said. "All nine sites will be up and on the air by the end of this month."

Last week, the county publicly expressed its thanks to operators of the Wheelabrator waste-to-energy facility for agreeing to allow installation of one of these sites at its facility in Westville.

Testing and adjusting of dishes will take place in November. Part of that testing involves ensuring full coverage across the county. According to its contract, Motorola must ensure at least 95 percent coverage reliability across the county.

The county's current communications system was built in the 1980s, upgraded in the '90s and has been in constant need of repair in recent years, county officials noted.

One huge difference with the new system, in addition to general coverage reliability, will come when storms knock out power. Uninterruptible power supplies hooked up at each simulcast site will maintain voltage and ensure emergency communications continue while backup generators kick in, Butts explained. In the past, the county had to set up portable generators to keep these systems operating in the event of a power outage.

The sites are also outfitted with security cameras, both inside the communications shelters and outside, Butts said.

Pitman Police Chief Robert T. Zimmerman, president of the Gloucester County Police Chiefs Association, said the association is looking forward to the system coming online.

"We're excited to experience the benefits of the new 700 MHz band radio system as its implemented throughout the Gloucester County law enforcement community," he said. "We've been working with the county for a couple years now preparing for this transition."

Better communication and less interference means improved safety for local officers, Zimmerman said.

"This is our life line and we look forward to reaping the benefits of the new system, as it will better serve our policing needs," he added.

STI Engineering

sti header

250W VHF Paging Transmitter

STI Engineering’s RFI-148 250 high performance paging transmitter features true DDS frequency generation that enables precise control and flexibility for a wide range of data transmission applications.

The transmitter is particularly suitable for large simulcast POCSAG and FLEX paging networks and can be used as drop-in replacement of older and obsolete transmitters. The unit has a proven track record in large scale critical messaging systems.

sti tx
  • High power output
    (selectable from 20 W - 250 W)
  • SNMP Diagnostics and alarms
  • Full VHF Band coverage
    (138-174 MHz)
  • DSP precision modulation
  • Integrated isolator
  • Sniffer port for in-rack receiver
  • Remote firmware upgrade capability
  • Software selectable frequency offset
  • Adjustable absolute delay correction
  • Front panel diagnostics
  • Hardware alarm outputs
  • High frequency stability
  • External reference option
  • FCC and ACMA approved
  • CE compliant version in development
sti22 Boulder Road Malaga 6090 Western Australia
Telephone:  +61 8 9209 0900
Facsimile:  +61 8 9248 2833

Leavitt Communications

its stil here

It’s still here — the tried and true Motorola Alphamate 250. Now owned, supported, and available from Leavitt Communications. Call us for new or reconditioned units, parts, manuals, and repairs.

We also offer refurbished Alphamate 250s, Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging!

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

black line

Phil Leavitt

leavitt logo

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Surface Book vs. MacBook Pro: It isn't twice as fast. It's three times as fast

Microsoft figured out how to put a discrete GPU into the Surface Book, and it paid off.

Credit: Gordon Mah Ung

Gordon Mah Ung
Executive Editor, PCWorld Oct 22, 2015 3:00 AM

Of course we had to pit the Surface Book vs. the MacBook Pro. It’s like Ford vs. Chevy, or Coke vs. Pepsi. Each side has its diehard fans, plus others who just want to know which is better.

Microsoft claims its new Surface Book is “twice” as fast as its equivalent MacBook Pro. Well, we ran some benchmarks, and hate to say it, but Microsoft lied. The Surface Book isn’t twice as fast.

It’s three times as fast.

Read on for the details.

What Microsoft meant

First, let’s clarify what Microsoft meant when it said the Surface Book would smoke the MacBook Pro. The company specifically means the MacBook Pro 13 inch model. That’s a very important distinction, because the MacBook Pro 15 is a different class of laptop. It’s larger, heavier, and packs a quad-core CPU and fairly beefy AMD discrete graphics. For Microsoft to say the Surface Book out performed the MacBook Pro 15 would be absurd. It would be like Apple saying the MacBook Pro 15 outperforms, oh, an MSI GT 80 Titan SLI laptop in gaming. So the target for the Surface Book is the MacBook Pro 13. Microsoft even compares the two directly in its reviewers guide.

How I tested

For my tests, I had access to a 2015 MacBook Pro 13. But the only Surface Book I had with the discrete graphics chip had an Intel Core i7-6600U.

That's not a fair comparison, but I had a workaround. Microsoft had also provided a Core i5 Surface Book without discrete graphics. Microsoft is still pretty secretive about the GPU in the Surface Books, but I don’t believe it’s putting a different GPU in the higher-end models. I just plugged the Clipboard section with the Core i5 into the base with the graphics chip in it. Neat.

So for the record, I tested a Retina MacBook Pro 13 with an Intel Broadwell Core i5-5752U, Iris 6100 graphics, 8GB of RAM and PCIe SSD, and the latest El Capitan build. Its rival was a Surface Book with an Intel Skylake Core i5-6300U, GeForce graphics, 8GB of RAM and PCIe SSD with Windows 10.

First up were some CPU tests. Cinebench R15 is a cross-platform test that uses a real-world 3D rendering engine from Maxon. The test is pure CPU, so let’s see how Microsoft’s “twice as fast” statement holds up here.

The higher clocked chip of the MacBook Pro 13 again edges past the Surface Book’s CPU

Not what you expected, PC fans? Consider the CPUs. The MacBook Pro 13 uses a pretty high-wattage, dual-core 28-watt chip with a base clock speed of 2.7GHz. That means it sticks to 2.7GHz even when under a load, and it’ll Turbo Boost to 3.1GHz. The Skylake dual-core in the Surface Book is a 15-watt chip; its minimum clock speed is 2.4GHz with a Turbo Boost of 3GHz.

Even though the Skylake CPU is faster than the Broadwell CPU in the MacBook if all things are equal, the chip in the MacBook most likely runs at higher clock speeds all the time. If you want to peep the specs of the chips in use here, I’ve lined them up at Intel’s ARK for you to compare .

In pure CPU tests, it’s often a wash and the MacBook Pro’s higher clocked CPU has a speed advantage here

Let's move on to Geek Bench 3, which uses “real world” algorithms to measure CPU speed. It’s another squeaker win for the MacBook Pro 13, but a win nonetheless. The same rule applies here as with Cinebench R15: The greater clock speeds of the hotter chip in the MacBook Pro is just cranking at too high a frequency for the Surface Book’s Skylake chip to keep up.

I could show you a few more benchmark charts between these two platforms, but it won’t change unless I use something that might favor a new feature in the Skylake CPU, such as SpeedShift. Let’s just agree that on the vast majority of CPU-bound tasks, the Core i5 MacBook Pro is probably going to be a smidge faster than the Core i5 Surface Book.

I'd generally rule it a tie in CPU performance, though, and this is why. Skylake is a 15-watt chip going up against a 28-watt chip. That’s a huge thermal and power difference. Given that disparity, Skylake still comes out looking pretty good.

Was Microsoft fibbing!?

If you’re thinking Microsoft’s mouth was writing checks its hardware couldn’t cash, take a step back. Microsoft has never told me exactly what tests it used to determine the “twice” boost (believe me, I asked), but I always suspected it was mainly built around the GeForce chip.

Of the many ground-breaking features Microsoft pulled off with the Surface Book, one of the crowning achievements is that GPU under the keyboard. You can see what a difference it makes in GPU-intensive benchmarks.

First up is LuxMark 3. It’s a test designed to measure the OpenCL performance of a chip. OpenCL stands for Open Compute Language, and it’s an attempt to move general purpose CPU chores onto the GPU.

For my test I ran the LuxBall load because other workloads crashed on the MacBook Pro 13. I wasn’t sure how this one would break, as Intel’s OpenCL performance has come a long way, but the result is certainly something that’ll make PC fans happier.

LuxMark 3 is a cross-platform OpenCL benchmark. I ran it on both of the graphics chips which is where OpenCL should run.

That’s a pretty hefty performance advantage in OpenCL in the Surface Book’s win column. As fast as Intel’s Iris 6100 is with its 48 execution units, it’s still not enough. The performance gap in the next test opens up that lead even more.

Heaven 4.0 performance

Next I ran Unigine’s Heaven 4.0 graphics test. The test was run at 1366x768 resolution with 2x AA, no tessellation and medium quality. I did this because the MacBook Pro 13 defaulted to many of those settings when started. On the Mac, the only graphics API is OpenGL, while the PC has DirectX and OpenGL. I opted for DirectX, as I don’t think it would have been fair to use OpenGL on the PC—Windows is all about DirectX, and it’s a big advantage for the platform.

Full disclosure: I ran the same test with different settings to see how the graphics in both stacked up. Most of the tests showed the Surface Book with the same big performance margin, though I could also find settings that would drag down both laptop’s performance so they were the same. Still, I think is a fair representation.

Surface Book also gets to wave good bye to the the MacBook Pro 13 in Unigine’s Heaven 4.0

Let’s try a real game

Rather than rely on a synthetic game benchmark, I also decided to throw a real game at it. Square Enix’s Tomb Raider is available on Steam on both platforms. It’s a fairly recent game and came out for PC and consoles in 2013. Feral Interactive ported the game to OSX the same year.

One caveat here: As a port there’s clearly a lot of things that could be different between the PC version and the Mac version. For my test, I ran it at 1400x900, which was the default resolution on the Mac, and selected the “Normal” quality setting on both. I also poked around the game’s graphics settings to see if there was any variance between them that got lost in translation.

The result is a bone-crushing blow for the MacBook Pro 13: Tomb Raider ran at a pathetic sub-24 fps, while the Surface Book whizzes along at 74 fps.

If Microsoft based its marketing statements on this test alone, it could have safely said “ triple the performance of a MacBook Pro.”

To be fair, if you've read this far, you know the Surface Book isn't twice as fast or three times as fast as the MacBook Pro 13 in all things. In this one game, however, at these settings it is and it does approach a being twice as fast in many tasks. And that's Bench-marketing 101 for you. Is it fair? Maybe not in some people's books, but then I'm sure they'd agree claiming an iPad is faster than 80 percent of portable PCs is wrong too.

Tomb Raider really puts the MacBook Pro 13 at a huge disadvantage. If I were Microsoft PR, I’d pick this benchmark and start screaming.

The GPU in the Surface Book isn’t just about gaming. Sure, that’s a nice bonus over integrated graphics, but the GPU really plays to other applications that need more graphics performance. CAD/CAM users, for example, can use it, and other professional-level applications should see a nice bonus with the discrete graphics chip in the Surface Book. That’s why my last performance benchmark will be Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud.

Premiere Pro has used GPU acceleration for years. It originally supported only Nvidia’s CUDA but has since added OpenCL. Luckily it runs on both platforms, too.

For my test I installed a Premiere Pro CC on both laptops, imported a 6.5GB 4K resolution .MOV video file, and then exported the movie to H.264 using the Vimeo preset at 1080p resolution with the maximum render quality setting enabled. On the Mac, OpenCL was used. On the Surface Book, CUDA was my choice because it’s an Nvidia chip.

The result? Another crushing blow in favor of the Surface Book. For a professional, less time spent rendering means more productivity. On the Surface Book, it was done literally minutes ahead of the MacBook Pro 13.

I leaned on Premiere Pro CC 2015 to encode a 4K H.264 file on both platforms and Surface Book pile drives the Macintosh.

Battery life

This wouldn't be complete without a battery run down test. As I can't run MobileMark 2014 on OSX, I resorted to a standard video run down test.

I calibrated both laptops to the same 260 nit brightness, disabled screen dimming, and turned off the wireless. I also set the volume to approximately the same volume by listening to a test tone with a set of Samsung ear buds in each computer. Audio was left on with the same ear buds in the laptops.

For a test file, I used the same 4K-resolution Tears of Steel .MOV file from my Premiere Pro encoding test. Normally, I like to run the same player, such as VideoLAN, to make it neutral. The last time I did that resulted in belly aching that the test is unfair because it doesn't use each OSes' optimized player.

So for this test, I used the QuickTime player on OSX El Capitan. I would have used iTunes as Apple does on its official run down tests but an apparent bug in it prevents videos from looping. The QuickTime player is the default player anyway which some argue is what you should use. On the Surface Book I used Windows Movies and TV player which is also highly optimized for power and Windows 10.

Both manufacturers actually claim 12 hours of battery life for movie play back. The MacBook Pro 13 has a massive 75 watt-hour battery while the Surface Book's is about 68 watt hours. That gives the MacBook Pro 13 about a 10 percent greater battery capacity over the Surface Book.

After 8 hours, I called it a day. The MacBook Pro 13 was reporting 19 percent battery life with 2 hours of estimated battery life left. The Surface Book was reporting 29 percent with 2:26 left. I could have taken both down to zero, but I wasn't going to sit in my cubicle and watch the moon rise.

I give the Surface Book the win by a small margin. What's really impressive is the Surface Book does it with a touch-screen which can consume 10 percent of run time and a smaller battery too. Both laptops actually offer fairly excellent run time overall but neither would have hit their rated life for lower-resolution file playback.

The next morning

When I clocked in the next morning, I decided to finish draining both laptops. I had shut both down and left them in place but decided to pick up where I left off. Full disclosure: I brain faded on the Surface Book and it didn't loop after the first run and instead sat on a black screen at the end of the video for three minutes (which is how far the MacBook Pro 13 had gone into the second loop.) I then paused the MacBook Pro 13 and started the Surface Book playback while letting the MacBook Pro 13 sit paused for three minutes. I then started both at the beginning with it set to repeat.

The MacBook Pro 13 tapped out at 1:41 which was a little short what it had predicted. The Surface Book ran for almost an hour longer giving up about 2:37 of run time on the remaining charge from the night before.

If you add both together, that gives the MacBook Pro 13 about 9:41 of playing 4K content with the Surface Book running for 10:37. This isn't an ideal battery run down test condition but probably realistic as plenty of people turn off their computers during take off and then turn them back on in the air.
The win clearly goes to the Surface Book but both get kudos for long video playback performance.

Despite having a smaller battery and a touch screen, the Surface Book edges past the MacBook Pro 13 in battery life while playing 4K video.

But, but, but...

There's one last issue to address: Price. Some may argue it should be the $1,500 Surface Book against the $1,500 MacBook Pro 13.

This cuts to exactly what Microsoft is likely arguing: We figured out a way to put a GPU in a 13-inch laptop, while Apple and all other PC makers couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.

The Surface Book's premium price is what a premium is about. You can’t get discrete graphics in any MacBook Pro, but you can on the Surface Book. And the payoff is clear.

Source: PCWorld

Hark Technologies

hark logo

Wireless Communication Solutions

USB Paging Encoder

paging encoder

  • Single channel up to eight zones
  • Connects to Linux computer via USB
  • Programmable timeouts and batch sizes
  • Supports 2-tone, 5/6-tone, POCSAG 512/1200/2400, GOLAY
  • Supports Tone Only, Voice, Numeric, and Alphanumeric
  • PURC or direct connect
  • Pictured version mounts in 5.25" drive bay
  • Other mounting options available
  • Available as a daughter board for our embedded Internet Paging Terminal (IPT)

Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
  • Two contact closures
  • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

Other products

Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Hark Technologies
717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
Summerville, SC 29485
Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Web: left arrow CLICK

Hark Technologies

Preferred Wireless

preferred logo

Terminals & Controllers:
4ASC1500 Complete, w/Spares
3CNET Platinum Controllers
2GL3100 RF Director
1GL3000 ES — 2 Chassis — Configurable
1GL3000 L — 2 Cabinets, complete working, w/spares
35SkyData 8466 B Receivers
1Unipage — Many Unipage Cards & Chassis
10Zetron M66 Transmitter Controllers
15Glenayre Complete GPS Kits
1Glenayre QT6994, 150W, 900 MHz Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
Link Transmitters:
6Glenayre QT4201 25W Midband Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
1Motorola Q2630A, 30W, UHF Link TX
VHF Paging Transmitters:
19Motorola Nucleus 125W CNET
6Motorola Nucleus 350W CNET
11Motorola Nucleus 350W NAC
14Motorola Nucleus 125W NAC
1Glenayre QT7505
1Glenayre QT8505
3Glenayre QT-100C
UHF Paging Transmitters:
16Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
2Glenayre GLT8200, 25W (NEW)
15Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
4Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W
 Nucleus Power Supplies
 Nucleus NIU, Matched Pairs
 Nucleus GPS Reference Modules
 Nucleus GPS Receivers
 Nucleus Chassis
 Glenayre 8500, PAs, PSs, DSP Exciters
 Glenayre VHF DSP Exciters


Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail

Rick McMichael
Preferred Wireless, Inc.
Telephone: 888-429-4171
(If you are calling from outside of the USA, please use: 314-575-8425) left arrow

Preferred Wireless


Critical Alert

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Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

Formed in 2010, CAS brought together the resources and capabilities of two leading critical messaging solutions providers, UCOM™ and Teletouch™ Paging, along with lntego Systems™, a pioneer in next-generation nurse call systems. The result was an organization that represented more than 40 years of combined experience serving hospitals and healthcare providers.

CAS was created to be a single-source provider for hospitals and healthcare facilities in need of advanced nurse call and communications technologies.

Unlike our competitors, our product development process embraced the power of software from its inception. This enables us to design hardware-agnostic solutions focused on built-in integration, flexibility and advanced performance.


Nurse Call Solutions

Innovation in Nurse Call

Innovative, software-based nurse call solutions for acute and long-term care organizations.


Paging Solutions

The Most Reliable Paging Network

To this day, for critical messaging, nothing beats paging. It’s simply the best way to deliver a critical message.



© Copyright 2015 - Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

Official FCC Blog

Your Feedback is Building a Better

by: Dr. David A. Bray , FCC CIO
October 9, 2015 - 11:00 AM

You spoke; we listened. Since our last update on our modernization project , we built a new Beta ( i.e. test) version of based on your input, and we need your feedback again. Building upon the foundation of extensive user research done earlier this year — and coupled with additional input we will receive during this Beta period — the new will be more useful and accessible to FCC stakeholders.

Check out the Beta site at and please tell us what you think. What works? What doesn't? And don't worry: you can still access the old content and features at while we perfect the new site.

What's New?

The new Beta site is Drupal-based and responsive, meaning the display will optimize based upon the device you are using to view the site such as PC, mobile phone, or tablet.

The Beta website is also connected to our document databases, EDOCS and ECFS , via application programming interfaces (APIs). The APIs allow real-time EDOCS and ECFS updates to display in ' Headlines ' and ' Most Active Proceedings '. FCC applications will also be updated and increasingly cloud-based, similar to our new Consumer Help Desk .

All of the content that resides on the current has already been migrated to the new, Drupal-based site. We are currently integrating this content into new information architecture, meaning additional and improved ways of accessing and interacting with all the information currently available on

Finally, with considerable help from FCC's Bureau and Office staff, we have created a new taxonomy that will be used to classify web content. This will allow us to use Drupal features that make search easier, allow for better content discoverability across the site, and automate lists of content on a variety of topics.

Next Steps

We will be looking for your feedback, and encourage you to keep an eye on the Beta site for bi-weekly code updates, new content, and blog updates highlighting what’s changing.

Based on the additional feedback we receive during the website's extended Beta period, we intend to complete the switch to the new site fully later this fall with more details to be shared in the weeks ahead.

On behalf of everyone at FCC, thanks for all of the feedback we've received to date. You can continue submitting input for consideration and/or any bugs you find on via a web form or email .

Updated: October 9, 2015 - 11:01 AM


BloostonLaw Newsletter

Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.

BloostonLaw Telecom UpdateVol. 18, No. 41October 21, 2015

Special Edition

FCC Issues Incentive Auction Application Procedures, Including Upfront Payments and Minimum Opening Bids for Forward Auction; Applications due January 28.

After the close of business on Friday, the FCC released two items that are critical to the upcoming Incentive Auction: the Application Procedures Public Notice and the final opening bid prices for broadcast stations. Forward auction bidding units, upfront payments and minimum opening bids for 600 MHz PEA licenses are described in an appendix to the Application Procedures Public Notice. With the release of these procedures and payment information, the stage is not set for interested bidders to rapidly finalize their auction plans and prepare to file a participation application. Forward auction bidders must file their “short form” participation applications by 6 p.m. on January 28, 2016. Interested clients that would like our help with planning, applying for and/or participating in the auction should contact us as soon as possible. The application disclosures and eligibility determinations are far more complex in this auction than in all prior auctions.

“For potential Incentive Auction participants, today is a watershed moment," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. "For all practical purposes, we’ve fired the starting gun: the release of final opening bid prices – combined with the detailed application procedures and other data released yesterday – provides broadcasters with all of the information they need to decide whether to apply to participate in the auction. Stations that miss the December 18th deadline will not be able to participate in this historic auction. Commission staff stand ready to educate and assist applicants as they prepare.”

The 230-page Application Procedures PN also contains detailed attachments covering matters such as the technical details regarding the procedure for determining the spectrum clearing target, the algorithms for the reverse and forward auction bid processing determination procedure, and the bidding units for determining upfront payments and minimum opening bids in the forward auction. Concurrent with the Application Procedures PN, additional data and information related to the incentive auction, including the final interference “constraints” and the associated supporting files, are being made available on the FCC’s Auction 1000 website:

Important dates and deadlines for the forward auction to 600 MHz flexible-use licenses are listed below:

Pre-Auction Process Tutorial Available (via Internet)January 7, 2016
Auction Application Filing Window OpensJanuary 14, 2016; 12:00 noon ET
Auction Application Filing Window DeadlineJanuary 28, 2016; 6:00 p.m. ET
Bidding and Post-Auction Process Tutorial (via Internet)February 29, 2016
Initial Commitment DeadlineMarch 29, 2016; 6:00 p.m. ET
Initial Clearing Target and Band Plan AnnouncedThree to four weeks after the initial commitment deadline
Upfront Payments (via wire transfer)By the deadline announced in the Upfront Payments PN; 6:00 p.m. ET
Clock and Assignment Phase Mock AuctionTo be announced in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN
Clock-Phase Forward Auction BeginsTo be announced in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN

The FCC’s release of opening bid prices for broadcasters completes the package. For each eligible station, the Incentive Auction Task Force has provided prices for each of the possible bid options available to a station: the option for a station to relinquish its license in full, the option for a UHF station to move to a high-VHF channel, or the option for a UHF or high-VHF station to move to a low-VHF channel. The top bid will be in New York—$900 million for WCBS-TV. A station is identified as “Not Needed” if the FCC has determined it will not need to offer to buy in order to clear sufficient spectrum in that market. Most of the offers will decrease in price in successive rounds of the reverse auction until the bidding system determines the amount needed to meet the spectrum clearing target.

The FCC has set 6 p.m. on December 18, 2015, as the date by which interested broadcasters must file their applications. Once applications are filed, FCC staff will review them for accuracy and completeness. On March 29, 2016, broadcasters that filed an acceptable application by the December 18, 2015, deadline will make their initial bid commitment and the auction will begin.

The auction PN also includes a list of which nationwide providers will be eligible to bid on the “reserve spectrum” in each PEA. The reserve spectrum is a portion of the reclaimed 600 MHz broadcast spectrum that will not be available for bidding by licensees that the FCC has determined already have a significant amount of the low band (below 1 GHz) spectrum that offers superior propagation. Their eligibility turns on whether they already have rights to at least 45 MHz of low band spectrum at the start of the auction. While it was hoped that this spectrum reserve mechanism would help to ensure that there would be available licenses for bidding by small businesses and rural telephone companies, the PN attachment reflects that there are several markets where nationwide carriers will be eligible to bid on the reserve. The eligibility of a carrier to bid on the reserve spectrum has been determined pursuant to a formula created in the recent Mobile Spectrum Holdings Report and Order. If anyone wishes to challenge the eligibility of a carrier to bid on the reserve in a particular market, it must file a request for correction of the eligibility determination by November 16.

It will also be important for applicants to make sure that no one associated with their application is considered to be in default on an obligation owed to the Federal government, or it could cost them the opportunity to bid. We can help to determine if an entity is considered to be in default by the FCC, due to e.g., a bounced filing fee check or missed user fee payment. But interested companies will need to check for default status with other Federal agencies.

The FCC is also taking up various tertiary but important aspects of the 600 MHz auction at its October 22 meeting, such as how to deal with interference between broadcasters and auction winners, and how to handle the details of the transition as broadcasters shut down to clear the way for wireless operations.

While the minimum opening bid for several rural licenses is less than $30,000, many approach or exceed $100,000, and not always with obvious rhyme or reason. For instance, the Bismarck, ND bidding starts at $125,000, while the Minot, ND minimum opening bid is only $15,000, even though Minot has a larger population in the market. This difference appears to be the result of the FCC’s use of a “weighted pops” formula based on the amount of clear broadcast spectrum in the area.

Any clients that would like our help in identifying relevant information about the auction or understanding the application procedures should contact us promptly.

FCC Reminds ETCs to Use High-Cost Support for Intended Purposes

On October 19, the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding all ETCs that receive support from the USF’s high-cost mechanisms of their obligations to use such support only for its intended purposes of maintaining and extending communications service to rural, high-cost areas of the nation. The FCC also reminded rate-of-return carriers that section 65.450 prohibits them from including expenses in their revenue requirements unless such expenses are “recognized by the Commission as necessary to the provision” of interstate telecommunications services. See the article below for more information, including a non-exhaustive list of expenditures that are not necessary to the provision of supported services and therefore may not be recovered through USF support.


FCC Provides List of Non-Recoverable Corporate Operation Expenses; Reminds ETCs of Penalties

In its continuing effort to limit the recovery of corporate operations expenses, the FCC released a public notice to remind all eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that receive support from the Universal Service Fund’s high-cost mechanisms "of their obligations to use such support only for its intended purposes of maintaining and extending communications service to rural, high-cost areas of the nation" and provided a list of corporate operating expenses that are not recoverable. (WC Docket Nos. 10-90 and 14-58) The FCC also reminds ETCs that misusing legacy high-cost or Connect America support "may subject the recipient to recovery of funding, suspension of funding, enforcement action by the Enforcement Bureau pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934 or our rules, and/or prosecution under the False Claims Act."

Section 254(e) of the Communications Act specifies that high-cost support must be used “only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended.” In the Notice, the FCC states that "[w]hile ETCs are eligible to receive support to recover a portion of their costs relating to corporate operations, those expenses must fall within the scope of the statutory requirement that support be used for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended."

The FCC also reminds rate-of-return carriers "that section 65.450 of our rules prohibits them from including expenses in their revenue requirements unless such expenses are 'recognized by the Commission as necessary to the provision' of interstate telecommunications services." According to the FCC, "it takes seriously any inclusion of inappropriate expenses for recovery by ratepayers, and will take appropriate steps to ensure that expenses are used and useful and prudently incurred."

The FCC provides the following list of expenditures that it states are not necessary to the provision of supported services and may not be recovered through universal service support:

  • Personal travel;
  • Entertainment;
  • Alcohol;
  • Food, including but not limited to meals to celebrate personal events, such as weddings, births, or
  • retirements;
  • Political contributions;
  • Charitable donations;
  • Scholarships;
  • Penalties or fines for statutory or regulatory violations;
  • Penalties or fees for any late payments on debt, loans or other payments
  • Membership fees and dues in clubs and organizations;
  • Sponsorships of conferences or community events;
  • Gifts to employees; and
  • Personal expenses of employees, board members, family members of employees and board members, contractors, or any other individuals affiliated with the ETC, including but not limited to personal expenses for housing, such as rent or mortgages.

The FCC admonishes ETCs to "take all necessary steps to ensure that they and their agents, contractors, consultants, and representatives scrupulously adhere to the rules governing legacy high-cost and Connect America Fund program support." The FCC also encourages state commissions "to look carefully at the information provided to them in advance of the annual [universal service] certification and to report any areas of concern to the Commission for further investigation and potential enforcement action." The FCC also states that it intends to take further action "to ensure that high-cost funding is used for its intended purposes, and that ratepayers of rate-of-return carriers are not made to subsidize excessive expenditures." The accompanying statement from Commissioner Clyburn encourages the FCC to initiate a proceeding "in the coming months."

Effective Date Established for Copper Retirement Requirements

On October 19, the FCC published its Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration on copper retirement processes in the Federal Register, establishing an effective date of November 18 for those portions of the rule not requiring approval by the Office of Management and Budget.

Specifically, as of November 18, an incumbent LEC that obtains authority to discontinue, reduce, or impair TDM service in an area in which it offers IP service, it must, as a condition of such authority, provide any requesting telecommunications carrier wholesale access reasonably comparable to the level of wholesale access it previously provided on reasonably comparable rates, terms and conditions. This requirement applies to i) a special access service that is used as a wholesale input by one or more telecommunications carriers and (ii) a service that is used as a wholesale input by one or more telecommunications carriers to provide end users with voice service and that includes last-mile service, local circuit switching, and shared transport.

Upon OMB approval, the 90-day minimum notice period for copper retirements will be extended to 180 days, and particular provisions for the methods and timing of providing required notices will come into effect.

FCC to Release Data for “Do Not Disturb” Technology

On October 21, the FCC announced that the Commission will release robocall and telemarketing consumer complaint data weekly to help developers build and improve “do-not-disturb” technologies that allow consumers to block or filter unwanted calls and texts. The data, including originating phone numbers of telemarketers and automated robocalls, will be released and available on the FCC’s Consumer Help Center’s website. The data will be available here as it is released:

According to a press release, the data is similar to the data released periodically by the Federal Trade Commission. “Do Not Disturb” technologies use this information to determine what numbers might be originating unwanted calls. Companies may use data like this to further improve their services in determining what calls and texts a consumer might choose to block or filter ( i.e. sent directly to voicemail).

The announcement is the product of a June clarification by the FCC that there are no legal barriers to service providers offering robocall-blocking technologies to consumers.

Law & Regulation

FCC Issues Agenda for October 22 Open Meeting

The FCC has issued the agenda for its October 22, 2015 Open Meeting. At the meeting, the FCC will consider:

  • a Report and Order and Third FNPRM on reforming inmate calling services
  • an FNPRM and Order on modifying the four-year compensation rate plan for VRS
  • an NPRM on streamlining the foreign ownership review process for broadcast licensees and applicants;
  • an NPRM on new flexible-use service rules in certain bands above 24 GHz;
  • a Second Order on Reconsideration to provide additional flexibility to broadcasters interested in the incentive auction channel sharing option;
  • a Third Report & Order and First Order on Reconsideration on inter-service interference between broadcast television stations and wireless licensees in the 600 MHz Band; and
  • a Report and Order on when 600 MHz Band wireless licensees will be deemed to commence operations, for purposes of triggering relocation and other requirements under the Incentive Auction rules.

The meeting, which is scheduled to start at 10:00 am Eastern time, will be webcast live at

FCC Fines Alaskan Company for Cell Tower Violations

On October 20, the FCC announced a $620,500 settlement with General Communication, Inc. (GCI), parent company of The Alaska Wireless Network, for failing to register numerous communications towers through the Commission’s Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) system. Specifically, prior to constructing or upon acquiring these towers, GCI did not register 118 cellular communications facilities and failed to properly light three of them to comply with aviation safety rules.

The registration rules generally require owners of communications towers to register with the FCC any tower that is taller than 200 feet or that may interfere with the “glide slope” associated with the flight path of nearby airports and heliports. The tower owner must seek and be granted marking and lighting instructions from the FAA and include those instructions in its ASR registration with the FCC prior to construction.

In early 2014, the company self-reported to the FCC that it had discovered numerous apparent violations of the tower registration requirements, including for many towers that it had recently acquired. The FCC Enforcement Bureau’s subsequent investigation revealed that approximately 118 GCI-owned communications towers had not been registered in the ASR system prior to construction or upon acquiring them. The investigation also found that three towers were not properly lighted, and worked with the company to settle the investigation and secure a plan to ensure towers are appropriately registered and lit.

International Bureau Provides Guidance on In-Line Interference in KU-BAND

On October 20, the FCC’s International Bureau responded to several inquiries by providing formal guidance concerning the criteria for avoidance of in-line interference events among Ku-band non-geostationary-satellite orbit fixed-satellite service (NGSO FSS) systems. Specifically, the Bureau clarified that Ku-band systems must use the same sharing criteria as Ka-band NGSO FSS systems, which are codified in Section 25.261 of the Commission’s rules. Ku-band criteria were adopted in 2002, but never codified.

House Subcommittee to Hold Hearing October 27 on Economic Impact of Open Internet Order

On October 20, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology announced it will hold a hearing on October 27, entitled Common Carrier Regulation of the Internet: Investment Impacts. The purpose of the hearing is to review the economic impacts of the FCC’s decision to implement, in Rep. Greg Walden’s words, “heavy-handed utility-style regulation” of the Internet. The subcommittee will examine the effect of the FCC’s rule on investment and deployment of broadband networks and what that means for American consumers, jobs and innovation.

“We’re less than a year removed from the commission’s vote for Title II and common carrier regulation of the internet, and we’re already seeing the ripple effect of economic harm,” said Walden. “Rather than heed bipartisan calls for a true light touch as our legislation would do, the commission did an end run in the opposite direction. These misguided rules are now having serious ramifications on how quickly consumers can expect upgrades and innovation in their Internet service. We are undeterred as job creation and economic growth are still our top priorities. Next generation breakthroughs and advancements are on the line, and our work continues on behalf of consumers.”

More information can be found here as it becomes available.


Court Rejects Sprint Claim that NY Sales Tax on Interstate Mobile Phone Services is Unconstitutional

Various media sources, including Reuters, CNET, Wireless Week and the Kansas City Business Journal are reporting that in a 4-1 decision, the New York Court of Appeals rejected Sprint’s argument that the imposition of New York state sales tax on interstate mobile phone services violated the U.S. Constitution.

The suit, which was brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, was based upon whistle blower information that Sprint deliberately ignored the New York sales tax law in an effort to “gain an advantage over its competitors by reducing the amount of sales taxes it collected from customers and, thereby appearing to be a low-cost carrier.” The Court found that that this practice started in July 2005 when it unbundled its charges within its flat-rate monthly plans and declined to collect taxes on those charges that it attributed to interstate and international calls. New York’s complaint also alleged that Sprint deliberately ignored the advice of a New York tax department field auditor on two occasions – in 2009 and 2011, after being informed that Sprint’s tax practices were illegal.

Even though the State of New York lost $100 million in tax revenues, it is seeking triple damages (or $300 million) as a result of Sprint’s false tax filings.

The Sprint cases illustrates that in a competitive environment, telecom carriers face hard decisions concerning tax withholding and other matters, and must weigh what measures to take in order to keep consumer costs low while avoiding having to pay far more in money, penalties and bad press on the back end. The question of what customer revenues are truly “interstate” is a thorny one in the age of bundling, and it is not yet known whether Sprint will appeal the adverse ruling. In those circumstances where clients have questions regarding the appropriateness of a particular course of action is correct, we recommend that you contact our office or local counsel as appropriate.

Inmate Calling Providers Threaten Legal Action over New Rules

Capitol Hill news source The Hill is reporting that the three largest providers of inmate calling have threatened legal action concerning the FCC’s new rules on inmate calling, scheduled to be heard at tomorrow’s Open Meeting. According to The Hill, Securus Technologies, Telmate, and Global Tel Link have made clear through a number of filings and meetings that, unless the new rules are changed, they will seek judicial review. The companies are particularly concerned with a new cap on inmate calling under which prison inmates would not be charged more than 11 cents per minute for any call, which represents a cut of more than 50% of the current cap on interstate calls.


OCTOBER 26: COMMENTS DUE ON SECTION 214 DISCONTINUANCE CRITERIA AND PROCESS. The FCC is seeking comments on a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) which asks whether the Commission should revise its rules concerning the 214 application process and proposes specific criteria for use in evaluating applications to discontinue retail services pursuant to section 214 of the Act.

OCTOBER 29: COMMENTS DUE ON APPLICABLITY OF TELEMARKETING RULES TO GOVERNMENTS. A petition for declaratory ruling (CG Docket No. 02-278) asks the FCC to find that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Commission’s implementing rules do not apply to calls made by or on behalf of federal, state, and local governments, including calls made by legislative, judicial, and executive bodies, and those who act on behalf of such government entities, when such calls are made for official purposes.

NOVEMBER 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.

Calendar At-A-Glance

Oct. 26 – Comments on Section 214 Discontinuance Criteria and Process.
Oct. 29 – Comments on Applicability of Telemarketing Rules to Government Calls
Oct. 30 – PRA Comments on the 2015 Lifeline Second Reform Order are due.

Nov. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Nov. 9 – Comments are due on Regulatory Fees NPRM.
Nov. 13 – Reply Comments on Applicability of Telemarketing Rules to Government Calls
Nov. 13 – Deadline for Petitions for Reconsideration of Incentive Auction Procedures.
Nov. 20 – Comments are due on Regulatory Status of Mobile Messaging.
Nov. 24 – Reply Comments on Section 214 Discontinuance Criteria and Process.
Nov. 30 – Comments are due on RUS New Equipment Contract process.

Dec. 1 – Comments are due on the “Totality of the Circumstances” test.
Dec. 7 – Reply comments are due on Regulatory Fees FNPRM.
Dec. 20 – Form 323 (Biennial Ownership Report) is due.
Dec. 21 – Reply comments are due on Regulatory Status of Mobile Messaging.
Dec. 31 – Reply comments are due on the “Totality of the Circumstances” test.

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm. For additional information, please contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or .

Friends & Colleagues

Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.

Complete Technical Services For The Communications and Electronics Industries Design • Installation • Maintenance • Training • Engineering • Licensing • Technical Assistance

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Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.
Consulting Engineer
Registered Professional Engineer

Tel/Fax: 972-960-9336
Cell: 214-707-7711
7711 Scotia Dr.
Dallas, TX 75248-3112

Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.

Consulting Alliance

Brad Dye, Ron Mercer, Allan Angus, Vic Jackson, and Ira Wiesenfeld are friends and colleagues who work both together and independently, on wireline and wireless communications projects.

Click here left arrow for a summary of their qualifications and experience. Each one has unique abilities. We would be happy to help you with a project, and maybe save you some time and money.

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Parity Act House Cosponsors Now in Triple Digits!

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 bill in the US House (H.R. 1301) now has 106 cosponsors! ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, credited ARRL members “who understand the importance of the legislation” with making it possible to reach that milestone.

“They have signed letters at hamfests and conventions all over the country, at booths staffed by Directors, Vice Directors, Section Managers, and other ARRL officials,” President Craigie said. Backing up those efforts have been recent personal visits to Capitol Hill by ARRL Directors Dick Isely, W9GIG, and Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, as well as by General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD.

The 100th cosponsor of H.R. 1301 was Rep Larry Bucshon [R-IN], who signed aboard on October 16. Six more cosponsors added their names on October 20 and 21. They are Reps Steve Chabot, [R-OH], Mike Bost [R-IL], and Frank LoBiondo [R-NJ]; Katherine Clark [D-MA]; Thomas MacArthur [R-NJ], and Sheila Jackson Lee [D-TX].

The Amateur Radio Parity Act would direct the FCC to extend its Part 97 Amateur Radio Service rules relating to “reasonable accommodation” of Amateur Service communications to include private land use restrictions. There are two bills, one in the US House and one in the US Senate. US Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced H.R. 1301 on March 4 with 12 original cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. US Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced S. 1685 into the US Senate on June 25, with Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) as the original cosponsor.

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN

“We are not done by any means,” President Craigie added. “Let's push the numbers up and keep our representatives and senators aware of how much we care about this issue.”

She noted that Scouting's Jamboree On The Air ( JOTA ) over the October 17-18 weekend introduced thousands of youngsters to Amateur Radio. “Let's make sure their interest can blossom, even if their parents have chosen to live in communities that don't allow antennas at this time,” President Craigie urged. “These young people need what Amateur Radio has to offer, and Amateur Radio certainly needs them. Please help them be the future.”

The ARRL recently introduced a “Clarity on Parity” video , and not only has it been made available on Capitol Hill, it would make an informative Amateur Radio club meeting program. A “Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity” document stresses many of the same points.

The ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 page provides more information and explains how members can become involved.

Source: The ARRL Letter


From:Stephanie Nelson
Subject: IDA 24-67 Tone Remote Controller
Date:October 19, 2015 at 4:15:24 PM CDT
To:Brad Dye

Dear Valued Partner,

We take this opportunity to reintroduce our next generation Model 24-67 Tone Remote Controller technology. This controller supersedes all of the IDA’s earlier analog models.

Since many of you have used our earlier tone remotes, Model 24-67 core functionality includes most the features offered as an Option in our earlier models. As a result, Model 24-67 is industry best price / performance remote control technology to date. 24-67 is our first in the family of next generation products to exceed your requirements.

Attached you will find its profile and the tech spec. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you for all your support in the development of this technology.

Best regards,

Stephanie Nelson
1801 38th Street S  (New Address effective 2/17/14)
Fargo, North Dakota 58103
701-280-1122 (VOICE)  218-233-1886 (FAX)
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It’s hard to say exactly when someone hollowed out a material for the transport of water but the Romans are generally credited with first mass use of pipes to transport water. In fact the word plumbing is derived from the Latin word for lead “plumbum”, the substance the Romans used for their water pipes.

What might surprise people is that after the fall of the Roman empire another material emerged as the favored way to transport water to homes — wood. The English began using wooden pipes during the 16th and 17th centuries and settlers continued this trend upon their arrival in America in the late 1700s through the 1800s.

Logs were generally cut in 7-9 ft lengths, and the centers bored out to allow for the passage of water. Sometimes logs were split in half, the centers cut open, and then put back together with a series of iron straps. On each log, one end was tapered, and the other end opened so they would fit together. The seams between logs were sealed with pitch or hot animal fat.

Wooden water mains remained the material of choice for water distribution until the early 1900s when piping material took a huge leap in durability and reliability with the advent of cast iron and concrete. The last documented use of wooden pipes occurred during World War II when about 100,000 feet of these pipes were installed in place of corrugated iron or reinforced concrete pipes (due to wartime shortages of these materials) in drainage culverts, storm sewers and conduits, under highways and at army camps, naval stations, airfields and ordinance plants.
Here is an interesting piece of trivia: In the early 1800s fire fighters began to realize that they could bore into the logs to get water thereby helping them fight fires more effectively. When the firemen were finished fighting the fire they would insert a plug closing off the flow of water. This practice is where the word "fire plug" got its origin. Eventually municipalities began tapping the water mains at a certain spot on each block so firemen didn't have to dig down to find the main every time there was a fire on the block. You will recognize these “fire plugs” as fire hydrants today.
Source: Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District (Littleton, CO)

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